Conference Board - American businessThe Conference Board is an international business organization headquartered in New York City. As stated on their website the Conference Board was created in 1916 during a period of intense criticism of “big business,” and is a nonprofit group with a twofold purpose: “to improve the business enterprise system and enhance the contribution of business to society.” Over 3,000 companies in 67 countries are members of the Conference Board. While engaged in a variety of activities, the Conference Board is most widely known for its Consumer Confidence Index. Each month it sends a questionnaire to a sample of 5,000 households, with about 3,500 responses received. Households are asked to respond to five questions regarding
1. current business conditions in their area
2. expectations regarding business conditions in the next six months
3. current job availability in their area
4. expected job availability in the next six months
5. family income in the next six months
An index is constructed for each response covering the present situation and expectations, resulting in an overall Consumer Confidence Index, which is a leading indicator of future spending. Consumer confidence is closely correlated with UNEMPLOYMENT, INFLATION, and REAL INCOME changes. Each month the index is compared to the previous month and a press release is issued and reported in the financial media. The base year is 1985, when the value was set at 100. In July 2000 the index was 141.7, a higher figure than the 139.2 rating for the previous month. Along with the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index is a closely watched statistic among STOCK MARKET analysts and investors. The dismalscientist.com website posts the current Conference Board index along with many other economic indicators.